Vaccine information for young children

Updated Dec. 23, 2022

ADHS: COVID-19 Boosters for All Ages (with ASL)


Have you and your child been vaccinated?

The COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 6 months old is available to Pima County clinics. Making an appointment at one of the clinics is recommended to avoid a wait. Also, be sure to check with your pediatrician and pharmacies for availability.

The Pfizer series is available for children age 6 months through 4 years old. Moderna’s series is approved for children age 6 months through 5 years old. The Moderna series consists of two shots given four weeks apart. Pfizer’s series consists of two shots given three weeks apart, followed by a third shot eight weeks later.

“Vaccination is an important step to protect our smallest children from serious illness, long-term effects from COVID, and to help them from spreading the virus to adults and others in the family who are more vulnerable,” said Pima County Health Department Director Dr. Theresa Cullen.

COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and effective at preventing serious illness and hospitalization related to the COVID-19 virus. Getting children vaccinated against COVID-19 will also help prevent outbreaks in schools.

Dec. 16, 2022 update

The CDC recommends COVID-19 booster vaccines for everyone ages 6 months and older. The timing and number of boosters depends upon your age, the vaccine you received for your primary series, and whether or not you are immunocompromised. To help you make decisions for your personal situation, the CDC’s “Find Out When to Get a Booster” tool on its Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines page can help.

In August 2022, the FDA authorized new “bivalent” Pfizer and Moderna booster vaccines that target the original virus strain plus the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. On October 12, 2022, the FDA expanded authorization to enable children aged 5-11 to receive the new boosters. The CDC approved the FDA’s decision shortly afterward. On December 9, 2022, following FDA action, the CDC expanded the use of the new bivalent Moderna and Pfizer boosters to enable children 6 months through 5 years to receive them. Children between 6 months and 5 years can now get a Moderna booster two months after finishing their two-dose Moderna series.

Those 6 months and older may now receive either the new Moderna or Pfizer booster.

The FDA offers the latest information on the vaccines, and Yale Medicine keeps a regularly-updated comparison of the COVID-19 vaccines. Find a list of places to get a vaccine.

Frequently asked questions on COVID-19 vaccinations for 6 months through 4 years old

UPDATED NOV. 9, 2022: Why should children under 5 get vaccinated?

The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. Ongoing safety monitoring shows that the vaccines are safe and effective for children. COVID-19 is an unpredictable disease, with no way to tell in advance how sick a child might become. The vaccine can prevent children from getting severely ill, needing hospitalization, or dying. The CDC found deaths in this age group due to COVID-19 are higher than deaths from other vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccination can also help reduce the chance that a child will become sick and then spread the virus to other family members or vulnerable individuals. Vaccination can also help parents have greater confidence in having their child in childcare, or in having playdates with other young children.
 
The CDC has more information for parents and caregivers on COVID-19 vaccination for children.

UPDATED DEC. 16, 2022: Which vaccines are available for ages 6 months to 5 years, and if my child is about to turn 5, should I wait to have them vaccinated with the higher dose?

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is available for children age 6 months through 5 years old, and the Pfizer vaccine is available for children age 6 months through 4 years old.
 
On December 9, 2022, following FDA action, the CDC expanded the use of the new bivalent Moderna and Pfizer boosters to enable children 6 months through 5 years to receive them. Children between 6 months and 5 years can now get a Moderna booster two months after finishing their two-dose Moderna series.
 
Children between 6 months and 4 years who haven’t yet started the Pfizer series, or are waiting to get their third dose, will now receive the new bivalent booster as their third dose. Children in this age group who already finished their three-dose Pfizer series should still have protection and will not yet need the booster. (Children 5 years and older can get a bivalent Pfizer booster two months after their last primary booster.)
 
Children get a smaller dose of COVID-19 vaccine than teens and adults based on their age group. Because the vaccine dosage is based on a child’s age on the day of vaccination, not on their size or weight, there is no need to wait. They will always receive the appropriate dose, no matter how old they are. The CDC has more information on the vaccines available for different age groups and when they should be given.

UPDATED NOV. 9, 2022: How are the dosages for this age group different from the adult dose?

The Pfizer vaccine for children 6 months to 4 years is one-tenth of the adult dosage, while the Moderna vaccine for children 6 months to 5 years is a quarter of the adult dosage..

If I was vaccinated during pregnancy, should I vaccinate my baby?

Getting vaccinated during pregnancy is an effective way to help protect yourself and your newborn against serious outcomes from COVID-19. A recent Harvard study suggested that antibody levels transferred to the newborn infant from a vaccinated mother may persist in a majority of infants to at least six months of age, which is when your child first becomes eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Talk to your pediatrician for questions about the optimal timing of your baby’s vaccination.

UPDATED NOV. 9, 2022: If my child already had COVID-19, should I still get them vaccinated?

Yes, evidence shows that getting vaccinated after being infected offers people added protection. If your child has had COVID-19, you can wait 3 months from when symptoms started to get them vaccinated. If they had no symptoms, you can wait 3 months from when they tested positive. If your child tests positive after getting their first shot, you should wait until their isolation period is over before getting them their second shot.


Frequently asked questions on COVID-19 vaccinations for 5 to 11-year-olds

UPDATED NOV. 9, 2022: What side effects, if any, are expected in this age group?

According to the CDC, side effects are generally mild, temporary and like those after other routine vaccinations. Possible side effects in children can include pain and swelling where the shot was given, irritability or crying, sleepiness, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite, muscle/joint pain and chills. Some children don’t get any side effects.

UPDATED NOV. 9, 2022: Why should 5- to 11-year-olds get vaccinated if they tend to not get as seriously ill as older people?

While most children don’t get as seriously ill as adults, they run the same risk of becoming infected and thus also risk post-COVID-19 symptoms and conditions. Vaccination can also help reduce the chances that a child will become sick and spread the virus to other family members or vulnerable individuals. Vaccination can also help parents have greater confidence in having their child participate in childcare, school, sports, and extra-curricular activities or playdates with others.
 
The CDC has more information for parents and caregivers on COVID-19 vaccination for children.

Parent videos: Why getting your child vaccinated is important

COVID-19 and kids: How mRNA vaccines works

Other parent resources

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